Question 22/17

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Question 22/17

Q. Thank you for your recent answer to Q 18/17. It however still does not appear to give a clear and a balanced approach to forecast costs to options 1 and 2 in the CGR information papers particularly as now published. You have explained that with option 2 RDC will be using the reduction in spending from transferring non Bexhill Special Expenses RDC services to a new TC and the savings on support costs for no longer having to provide administrative support for those services to off-set some of the changes to government funding. (some £300000 towards the loss of £1.8m in grant). This will leave the RDC Council Tax bill at £169.32.

However with Option 1 the RDC Council Tax bill is also £169.32 If under this option RDC don't have the windfall savings from the setting up of a new TC as above, how will it achieve in Option 1 the same level of savings to off-set those same changes to government funding? Will RDC be reducing rather than transferring services, or what other mechanism(s) will it use to achieve the same equitable position as proposed when a TC is set up? (01/09/2017)

A.  My previous comments highlighted that with or without a town council, the District Council's council tax charge would at least be the same due to the size of the funding gap expected until 2019/20. The financial forecast does assume an annual increase in Council Tax below the referendum limits set by the Government which will make a contribution to meeting this gap. The existing financial forecast does not assume a Town Council will be formed and therefore no reliance on the estimated saving has been made. Due to there being no decisions as yet on whether a Town Council should be created or if there is one, the extent of services to be devolved, then it is not sensible to build any allowance into our financial plans at this time.

The Council has formulated a plan in response to the funding cuts, called Rother 2020, which sets out the high level areas that the Council will focus on to deliver a balanced budget over the next few years. There is focus on income generation, improving how we respond to and manage service demand and making our processes as efficient as possible. Ultimately if this work falls short of delivering a balanced budget, the expectation is that some services may need to be reduced in scope/scale or stopped. No decisions on this have been taken as this will depend on the delivery of the other aspects of the plan. (07/09/2017)

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